How to split exp to greatest effect?

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We have recently decided to reroll the characters as virtually everyone is completely new to 4e and the original group was no where near optimized. Even before rerolling they managed most equal level encounters with ease and I want to take advantage of this reset by changing some of the mechanics up a bit. Yet, I am having some trouble deciding how I want to split exp.

On the one hand, I want everyone to feel they are making notable progress each session. On the other hand, I don't want to have a level up each week. I am familiar with two methods. 1: 1000 exp for the encounter, five players, 200exp each. 2:1000 exp encounter, everyone helped, 1000 exp each. The first method seems too slow, the second too fast. I don't want to houserule the exp for every encounter and I don't want to set an arbitrary "10 encounters per level" rule as some encounters should be worth more than others, in my opinion. 

What methods do you follow? How do you handle pacing? IS there a way to keep progress steady and notable without rushing through? 
I suggest you use the first method, but algo give small EXP awards to players who contribute with creative ideas, get into roleplaying and think out of the box.
Have you ever factored in real time in how fast or how slow you want leveling to go?

How long do most of your campaigns last in real time? How many levels is that? 

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Indeed - work out with thr group, how long you want to take for each level, and do that.  Use XP as a guideline for building encounters, and not for levelling.  Level at times which feel right for the group, and work well with the story (crossing into Paragon tier should probably happen at the conclusion of a major arc, for instance).
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Just to clarify for the OP:

What you are supposed to do is split the total XP for the encounter by the number of characters in the encounter. So, in your example, #1 is correct.  #2 is incorrect, based on what the rules are for giving out XP.

HOWEVER, you are well within your rights to change the rate of leveling as fits your group.  
I suggest you use the first method, but algo give small EXP awards to players who contribute with creative ideas, get into roleplaying and think out of the box.



+1
Also, quest xp.
I suggest you use the first method, but algo give small EXP awards to players who contribute with creative ideas, get into roleplaying and think out of the box.



The first method is what the DM guide suggests iirc. The second method OP suggested seems like it would make leveling too easy in heroic levels. 1000 XP already puts the players at level 2, and it's nearly halfway to level 3. Unless you were going to use it very very rarely, and maybe start using it only at higher levels.

However, as a motivation to RP, I keep a sheet next to me with a little table on it that I can write ticks in for extra XP rewards. I put all my players' names across the top, and then 50, 100, 200, 500 in the left column. I reward +50/encounter for players who use the flavor text on their power or item cards when they use them, +100 for making cool stuff up between encounters, +200/encounter for graphic combat descriptions, and +500/encounter for making up really, really cool stuff during encounters. The 500 XP bonus is for players who make up something really memorable. With a large group of 7, I've found that this makes it more fun between turns for the players to be trying to think up some cool sounding description of an action for their character to do while they wait, and the +50 means that if someone is too shy to try making things up exactly, they can just read off the card and it's still descriptive.
I can't recommend the use of bonus XP for "creative ideas." Either it won't make a difference in how quickly they level, or you'll have people levelling at different rates, which is pretty inconvenient.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

I can't recommend the use of bonus XP for "creative ideas." Either it won't make a difference in how quickly they level, or you'll have people levelling at different rates, which is pretty inconvenient.



It would depend on the group. It doesn't cause my players to level at drastically different rates because they're all very much into RP. They all tend to get something extra for each encounter. We very rarely give out a 500 XP bonus. It's only for those really memorable, positively impactful moments. 
It would depend on the group. It doesn't cause my players to level at drastically different rates because they're all very much into RP.

Ah, true, I hadn't considered them all getting it and just enjoying levelling up faster as a group.

They all tend to get something extra for each encounter. We very rarely give out a 500 XP bonus. It's only for those really memorable, positively impactful moments.

I see. Still, not my preference. Then again, I hate tracking XP.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

I can't recommend the use of bonus XP for "creative ideas." Either it won't make a difference in how quickly they level, or you'll have people levelling at different rates, which is pretty inconvenient.



Seconded.

I give poker chips that players can redeem for re-rolls.
My group doesn't track exp. We simply level up when we feel like it. If you really want to use xp but change the level rate, just multiply xp by how much faster you want it to go, for instance x1.5 maybe (keeping in mind to also multiply encounter guidelines to compensate).
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Have you ever factored in real time in how fast or how slow you want leveling to go?

How long do most of your campaigns last in real time? How many levels is that? 

We tend to play multiple characters within the same world.

If my campaign were lord of the rings the same player might be Samwise for several sessions, the poor innkeeper at the prancing pony for a session or two, and one of the Rohim for 5 or 6 sessions, then go back to being Samwise.

We play each session like a chapter in a grander story.

But trying to pace the story... I do keep up with how it seems to be going in real time. If we have several adventures a few days apart and the characters go from young apprentice to powerful arcanist just like that... it hurts the sense of story progression. So, I would answer that I factor real time - yes, if it's an open question to the forum.

Most of my campaigns currently last about 3-6 months (but they don't techically end, since the characters retire from the main story as interesting NPCs until we all feel like having them do something new improved and epic). In that time, we generally cash out in the 16th level range as the culmination of their major adventure, and then occasionally bring them out for a 1-shot adventure or role-play scenario for some extra XP. I never level up more than one time per session (we often play all day on a weekend), but I'm pretty generous with XP overall.

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I always have my players swap between characters. Most of the time, I like each player to have about 3 - 5 characters in different parts of the world.

1. There is no necessary reason to have them all at the same level or level range. A level 1 and level 20 might both fight in the same war performing different tasks, interacting with different level aspects of the same environment.

2. As for splitting EXP, you need to be mindful of when you "shift" from Group A to Group B. When you perform the shift, you should make a notation on your notes immediately. At the end of the session or during a game break, each "set" of characters should gain experience separately, or during the shift itself, or per encounter.

One "set" of characters experience should NEVER overlap to give another set of characters experience. That said, never means "sometimes" and there would have to be a compelling reason as to why. As for a "Norm", you would want to shift from your level 20 to your level 1, note exp of what your level 20 did. Then play through the level 1 and shift to your level 5, make note of what your level 1 did. When you assign EXP, each "set" of characters gets its separate EXP.


Within; Without.

I suppose a little more background information would be helpful.

We play once a week for three or four hours in a session so we don't want to spend a solid month on each level as would seem to be the case if we followed the standard rules. That said, we would like to progress faster than the prescribed method in the rulebooks, but not at a level per session rate, unless they just kill the ever loving crap out of everything that moves. We still want the level ups to feel like an accomplishment, not a standard progression that is expected after X number of hours played.

We like using exp as it breaks down each individual act to having an associated reward, but to fit our preferences, we haven't found a tried and true formula that really works. I tend to give out small exp bonuses, mostly as a tip of the hat kind of thing. Nothing that will make a huge impact by any means, but still singles the player out for something significant so they feel going above and beyond does offer rewards. 

The world we play in is very sandboxed, the stage is set, but it is up to the players to decide where they will go and when they will go there. Some areas simply cannot be tackled from a combat approach at lvl 5, but they can travel there whenever they want to. Exp seems the most straightforward approach to rewarding the players in a consistent manner in this setting, a working not too fast, not too slow formula is what escapes me however.

I guess what I'm really asking is what is the best way to keep things consistent in this type of setting and keep the pace above average while avoiding overkill?
For a long time now I've divided the experience equally between all players.  I add any xp bonus to the total and divide it equally.  I don't look at bonus xp too closely.  I just add whatever feels like an appropriate round number to the total.  I've had experiences in the past where people bickered over what was not rewarded and how it should have been

In previous editions there were alternate xp rules for different classes.  Thieves would get x amount for every gold piece the stole and similar things for other classes.  For fighters it was something along the lines of 10xp per hd of monster defeated.  My regular group was surprised to have a newcomer who ran around bopping each enemy once to get the bonus xp and wasn't really concerned about defeating any single enemy. 
Most the time I let my players know that they're expected to be a certain lvl through parts of a campaign. Once that's over or a point where a great milestone has been reached, they're granted a lvl. For my group it takes them away from too many combat situations and lets them play their characters alittle more freely.
I personally like EXP to be a 'group' thing rather than a 'personal' thing.  It means as a group everyone gets to level together, and if they feel so inclined, plan together with new potential combos, or works off of each other's excitement for what new cool thing they get to do.

It also makes my life as a DM much easier - I know that they'll be a certain level for a certain dungeon, and if someone does something cool I'll let the entire party get rewarded. I also interpret "quests" very loosely, so the players tend to get a fair bit of additional quest EXP. For instance, if they were heading to a city to find a dude, they'd get EXP for both reaching the city, and for finding the person (though the latter may be quest EXP or skill challenge EXP, depending on how they had to find the person).

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